A team of experts from Agricultural Cooperatives Development International (ACDI) and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (VOCA) will be in Jamaica next Wednesday (September 23), to assist the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in exploring restructuring the cocoa industry.
The decision to send the team was made by President/CEO of ACDI/VOCA, Carl Leonard, at a meeting with Jamaica’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, earlier today (Sept. 16) in Washington, D.C. USA.
The prompt response from ACDI/VOCA, followed Dr. Tufton’s outlining of Government’s initiatives to restructure the cocoa growing sector and reposition it to support economic growth.
Dr. Tufton told the ACDI/VOCA board that under the restructuring exercise, some entities would be divested.
He explained that there are currently 11,000 cocoa farmers producing some 650 tons of cocoa, and there is demand for 1,400 tons. The divestment exercise would help to attract the right private sector players to the industry, expanding production capacity to 3,000 tons, yearly.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, accepts a token from President and CEO of ACDI/VOCA, Carl Leonard, after meeting with the board this morning (Sept 16) at its headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. USA. Looking on is USAID Mission Director assigned to Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hillard and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry.
He pointed out that, if the production goals are achieved, the industry would be on the right track as a foreign exchange earner. He also disclosed that, in addition to the restructuring exercise, new markets would have to be found for cocoa products.
Dr. Tufton commended the President of the ACDI/VOCA for their quick response, in offering assistance to Jamaica.
Mr. Leonard said his organisation was more than willing to work with Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture, in any way possible, to facilitate the resuscitation of its cocoa industry.
Accompanying Dr. Tufton were United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Jamaica, Dr. Karen Hillard; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Donovan Stanberry; and Minister Counsellor in charge of trade at the Embassy of Jamaica, Washington, D.C., Franz Hall.
Dr. Tufton is on a six-day official visit to Washington at the invitation of USAID.